Nanomedicine therapies modulating Macrophage Dysfunction: A potential strategy to attenuate Cytokine Storms in severe infections

Jingping Liu, Meihua Wan, Christopher J. Lyon, Tony Y. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Cytokine storms, defined by the dysregulated and excessive production of multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines, are closely associated with the pathology and mortality of several infectious diseases, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Effective therapies are urgently needed to block the development of cytokine storms to improve patient outcomes, but approaches that target individual cytokines may have limited effect due to the number of cytokines involved in this process. Dysfunctional macrophages appear to play an essential role in cytokine storm development, and therapeutic interventions that target these cells may be a more feasible approach than targeting specific cytokines. Nanomedicine-based therapeutics that target macrophages have recently been shown to reduce cytokine production in animal models of diseases that are associated with excessive proinflammatory responses. In this mini-review, we summarize important studies and discuss how macrophage-targeted nanomedicines can be employed to attenuate cytokine storms and their associated pathological effects to improve outcomes in patients with severe infections or other conditions associated with excessive pro-inflammatory responses. We also discuss engineering approaches that can improve nanocarriers targeting efficiency to macrophages, and key issues should be considered before initiating such studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9591-9600
Number of pages10
Issue number21
StatePublished - 2020


  • Cytokine storm
  • Macrophage dysfunction
  • Nanomedicine
  • Pro-inflammatory disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)


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